Friday, March 18, 2016
The Quiet Man
Or as they put it over at the Youtube Channel "Facts." after seeing the trailer, more like the shouty, hitting man. Well, let's start making paddy-fingers in the Holy Water, and dive right in. So, I've got to write this review quick, because it's really not sticking with me. Maybe it would if I had grown up watching it, but this is another of those movies where I am not really seeing why it's on the Registry. Apparently it was supposed to be the first of five collaborations between John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, but it ended up being the third, as the studio made them make two Westerns first to make up for the money they'd lose on making a film about Ireland and paternalistic marriage culture. And none of the movies lost money, but this one did start a trend of occasionally sending a film crew over to Ireland to film locals being canny and twee and full o' the blarney, with a lilt in their voices and a twinkle in their eyes. At least they didn't attempt to make John Wayne speak with an Irish accent, like they do with most actors unfortunate enough to appear in these pictures. This is also one of only two films on the Registry to be listed under the letter "Q", so I suppose that's something? The plot is the bog-standard "Irish-American goes to rediscover his heritage, but he is hiding his past and he falls in love with a fiery redheaded lass who is crushed under the unrealistic expectations of patriarchal, backwards Irish culture". Which I guess was fresher in 1952, when this movie came out. And at least it wasn't another old saw on "Idealistic young man joins IRA to fight the evil Brits, discovers he has become as bad as them". Part of me thinks we make these movies just for scenery. And another part is wondering if this is our own version of an exploitation film. Enough Americans are of Irish descent and have a fascination with Irish culture that yeah, we'll wear green on St. Paddy's Day (and misspell it as "Patty's"), but we also had a vague sense of superiority before the whole Celtic Tiger thing happened. After all, we didn't blow each other up over religious differences... and neither did they if you get right down to it, but Captain Planet said they would. Our ancestors managed to get out, so obviously we aren't as backwards or superstitious and we don't believe in wee green men, nor are we as backwards as to drag our wives five miles through dirt and sheep dung or to settle our differences with our in-laws with a fist fight and a few pints. I'm not going to pretend to be any sort of expert on Irish culture, but this movie seemed vaguely offensive to me. It also suffered dreadfully from Idiot Plot, in that the major conflict could have been resolved with a simple conversation. I know a lot of people adore this movie, but for me, it was a resounding "Eh".